Former fisherman jailed in France for smuggling cannabis

A former Shetland fisherman has been jailed in France for smuggling a large amount of cannabis through the country.

Stephen Gray, 47, from Skeld, was sentenced to 30 months after being caught by French customs with 31 kilos of the drug on the A63 motorway near the Spanish border while on his way back to the UK. The cannabis was estimated by Shetland police to have a street value of £155,000.

The Foreign Office confirmed the case on Monday but declined to give details or reveal Gray’s whereabouts.

A spokeswoman said: “Mr Gray was arrested by French customs on drugs-related charges. He was subsequently sentenced to 30 months detention. We are providing Mr Gray with consular assistance.”

French customs said they were unable to give out personal information on people arrested.
On Thursday the Shetland police said Gray had been arrested over two weeks ago on 25th February.

Gray was a scallop fisherman for many years and is no stranger to controversy, having been fined in court in Lerwick in 2007 for assaulting a woman.

He was regularly in the news following the Braer tanker grounding in 1993 while battling for compensation of over £200,000 resulting from pollution to shellfish stocks.

Among other activities, Gray and his brother Stanley fished for spoots, or razorshells. Gray blamed the oil and the effect of salmon farms for the large amount of dead shells dredged up around the West Side.

In 2000 the Grays’ fishing partnership was declared bankrupt. The following year he tried to sue the SIC for £165,000 in compensation for being unable to sell an old scallop dredger, the Sola Gratia.

It had been seized by the local authority due to unpaid loan interest and it then suffered damage and vandalism while tied up in Scalloway. In 1995 Gray planned to open a shop and pub in Wester Skeld but it did not happen.


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